Self-Care

I’m sure we have all been paying fervent attention to the rise of self-care terminology. While you may be thinking it’s all mumbo jumbo, I have got to say. I’m a believer. Self-care makes you do good work and feel great doing it. So, this week, I wanted to share my top 5 self-care tips.

1. Take an hour for yourself each and every day. This may seem kind of obvious, but it’s really important to take that time for yourself to clear your head and pamper yourself each and everyday. I know it can be hard to get away, especially if you have little ones running around or are working multiple jobs, but you are worth it. So, make the time! I use my lunch hour each day to escape and do whatever I want. Sometimes I knit, sometimes I read, sometimes I veg out in front of the tv, and sometimes I just like to sit quietly and think. No matter how you choose to spend your one hour, an hour spent just for you will help you to feel relaxed and re-energized!

2. Write, write, and write some more! Now as a blogger, I obviously enjoy writing, but beyond that, writing can be very therapeutic. Writing can often help us get out thoughts and feelings that we dare not say out loud, or just don’t want to. In this life, we can deal with a lot of frustrating people and situations and we can’t always say the things that we feel. For this, I strongly recommend journaling or just writing when you feel overwhelmed. Some examples of writing projects that have helped me deal with frustrating situations:

  • A letter to my father who passed away.
  • A letter to my ex who infuriated me and broke my heart
  • A letter to a friend who moved away
  • Journaling my thoughts through the grieving process
  • Telling off a co-worker
  • Writing all the things that make me happy throughout the day
  • Writing down the reasons I love my job

Maybe, you have encountered one of the situations above, maybe you have something entirely different and frustrating to deal with. Beyond the topic, writing out your thoughts and feelings helps you connect with yourself and connect with who you want to be, so write, write, and write some more.

3.   Pamper yourself once a week. Pampering and treating yourself does not make you selfish, it makes you healthy. So treat yourself to pampering once a week. This pampering session can be whatever you need it to be. I know personally, I like a nice hot lavender bubble bath and a Johnny Depp movie. I’m a sucker for a good J.D. movie. I have a friend who get’s a manicure like clock work each week. Maybe pampering for you looks different. Maybe your treat is a road trip, a movie, a nice dinner out, or something nice and cheap like a game night with your family. Take the time to treat yourself to what makes you feel happy and beautiful!

4. Affirm your beauty and have faith in your confidence. It can be hard sometimes to live in a world that constantly reminds us that we fail its expectations. With each of us viewing 600 advertisements a day telling us we are not good enough, it can be easy to forget the amazing and beautiful creatures that we are. So, cheesy as it sounds, take the time every day to remind yourself how amazing you are. Here are some helpful ways that you can tackle this 365 task:

  • Pick a new body part or character trait each day to compliment.
  • Write a list of positive affirmations (or yoink one from the internet)

Use your affirmation list to do the following:

  • Write yourself post it notes and leave them on your mirror each day.
  • Write your affirmations on tiny sheets of paper, put them in a jar, and pull one out to read each day
  • If you use a calendar for work, write your affirmations in as a task each day so that they pop up and remind you.

5. Get Fancy. Take the time to do you every now and again. Get dressed up and fabulous and go out or just take gratuitous pictures of yourself. You deserve to feel smoking! You like make up? Put it on! High heels? Strap on those stilettos? You feel bad ass in a pair of converse high tops? Lace um up and strut like the magnificent person you are. Take the time to get dressed to the nines and check yourself out!

Give these tips a shot and if they don’t work for you, make up your own top 5! Above all, as we move into the Holidays take the time to Laugh, Love, and DO YOU!!!!

 

Got more ideas for blog topics or great self-care tips? Leave them in comment section!

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“But you’re promoting an unhealthy lifestyle!”

Okay, so this blog entry is dedicated to the haters. Okay, maybe not haters, but ill informed, ill motivated “do gooders”. This post is for the people who are out to save us from our fatness, save us from ourselves.

There are few things in this life that are considered both a medical condition and everybody else’s business. Rarely do you see people run up to a smoker, who is a complete stranger, yelling about cancer and about how disgusting they are as a human being for smoking. Or how about running up to thin people eating McDonald’s and other processed foods yelling at them about their diet/lifestyle. People would be livid if we displayed this kind of behavior. Yet, somehow, it is perfectly acceptable to do these exact same things to a fat person that you have never met before? So, before I delve into any science or medical reasoning behind HAES, I just want to tell everyone one thing. If it’s not your body….SHUT UP! That might sound really harsh, but here is the deal. I don’t come to your house and slap the high fructose corn syrup snacks that are killing your kids out of their sweet little hands. I don’t come over and cry and yell because your eating meat even though I am a vegetarian. I make choices about my life and you make choice about yours. It is beyond rude to assert your assumptions about health, beauty, and quality of life on someone else. So, don’t do it!

Now, let me hop down off of my soup box and let’s talk science and dollar signs. Here is what we do know about “obesity” (I hate that word, but whatevs, we are talking science here). We know that despite the “war on obesity”, a 58+ BILLION dollar diet industry, and every fad diet that you can possibly imagine, fat people are not disappearing. There has yet to be creation of a pill or diet that magically makes all people the alleged “perfect” thin ideal.  To make things more complicated, we know that the few people who do find weight loss success, only experience it for a limited time. In other words 90+ % of people who lose 20 pounds or more will gain it all back within 5 years. If you jump to the 10year mark, that percentage gets pretty close to 100. So what is the driving force behind our diet culture? The most common response that you will hear is health. So let’s take a look at how weight loss/diet culture is affecting our health.

Let me start with asking, what medical treatment do you know of, besides weight loss, that would be recommended as a cure with a less than 5% long term success rate? Just throwing that out there. But what if I told you that diet culture is not only not the cure, but it’s also a major part of the problem? What if I told you that your weight isn’t actually whats dictating your health? Well recent studies show that this is true. The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center conducted a study that showed that losing and regaining weight lowers the functioning of your immune system. Dr. Tracy L. Bale of Univ. of Pa. conducted a study that showed that dieting changes your brain chemistry and causes your body to crave high fat foods leading to additional weight gain rather than weight loss.  And here is a real kicker, recent studies, one conducted by the Presidents Council on Fitness and Sports and one conducted by the American Dietetic Association, showed that there is strong evidence that “overweight” or “obese” individuals can get healthier by becoming more active, regardless of how much weight they lose or if they lose weight at all.

So, I know I just crammed a lot of information into a short blog space, but what does it all mean? Here is a summary of what recent studies show. There are actually no significant health risks associated with being “overweight” or “obese”. The health risks commonly attributed to size are actually a result of behaviors and eating habits that lead SOME people to be “obese” or “overweight”. So! If you are concerned about your OWN health, then become more active and eat the right things. STOP putting the focus on weight loss. This, my friendly readers, is Health at Every Size (HAES). When you eat healthy and exercise, your body will balance out. Don’t believe me? Seven years ago, I jumped off of the weight lost band wagon and started thinking HAES. In the first year I lost 60 pounds, I have maintained every pound of weight loss for seven years. I now weigh in the ten pound range of 280-290, have an average blood pressure of 117/60, no blood sugar problems, and I never get winded going up stairs. My fat is a part of my health and mental well being.

The point I am trying to make is every body can be beautiful and healthy, any size, any shape, period, end of story. The science backs it up. So don’t assume you know someone’s health on the basis of their body. AND don’t assume it’s any of your business.

Empowering Fat

So I have received quite a few comments and messages of concern around my usage of the word fat over terms like plus size, voluptuous, fluffy, etc.  I wanted to take the time to talk about the reclamation of the word fat and how we can use it to feel empowered instead of victimized.

Let me start by saying that I certainly understand why people might be off put by the word fat. For many of us, that word has been hurled at us violently from family members, strangers, doctors, and from moving cars. It has been used to attack in expected situations like family dinners and doctor visits, and it has surprised as we walked down the street minding our own business. It has been followed by snorting pig noises, moos, and commonly derogatory terms as in fat bitch, slut, fuck, asshole, and so on. I get why fat can be a pretty damn hurtful word for people of size. So, why do I use it?

I feel like when we continue to allow it to be a four letter word, we continue to give it the power to hurt not just ourselves but other fat people. When we use terms like voluptuous or fluffy over fat, it perpetuates the idea that there is something shameful or wrong about being fat. It’s something we have to cover up, hide, and stuff into a pair of Spanx pronto. I have no shame about fat, I want to stick that word on a pedestal in a bikini with a neon sign that says “Hey there sexy pants!” Too far? But you get the idea.

I use the word fat to rob it of its negative power. I’m a fat woman, but I am also quite tall. I am 5’9”.  I have never described myself as tall and had someone rush quickly to me and be like “Oh no! You’re not tall, you’re just vertically advanced.”

I don’t need someone to make excuses for my size, or qualify my size. I don’t want to be told “Oh you’re not fat, you’re pleasantly plump, rotund, fluffy, or a meat and potatoes kind of gal”. And I especially don’t want to be called hefty. Kind people, I am not a trash bag. I am fat, tall, pale, red haired, and freckled, and each of those descriptive words should merit the exact same reaction.  And it’s for this reason that I loudly and proudly use the word fat, because nobody should be afraid of that word or of that idea. 

I’m Alive!

Greetings after a long hiatus…

So, you may be looking at this blog and notice a tiny gap in the timeline. Hey! It’s only been two years since I posted.  I suppose I may owe readers an explanation. Here is the deal: after being accepted into graduate school my life got crazy. I worked more than full time hours, traveled at conferences, began working as a professional speaker, conducted research with human subjects, and wrote a thesis. As you can imagine, my days were a tad bit full. Oh and I forgot to mention that I moved 6 times! SIX! But, it’s alright. I now sit before you a Master of Arts, with a full time amazing job, and ready to start blogging yet again.

This blog post is going to give you a little bit of an update about my life and then we will get back on track talking about all of the glorious fat things that we love to talk about and challenging social norms and idea about body image, sexuality, and health. I have received numerous comments that have inspired me to respond and respond I shall. In the coming posts I will be talking about why I use the word FAT over more acceptable terms like plus size, fluffy, hefty, or plump. I will write a response to some of the posts from “concerned citizens” trying to “save me” from my fatness, and I will also be writing a ‘how to’ about starting your own body/size acceptance group or Body Beautiful Project Chapter at your school!

Now! On to the life update. I am now working full time at a large state institution in Ohio in the Multicultural Center. As a program coordinator I am developing educational programming, outreach, services, and essentially running an LGBTQ Center and could not be happier with my job. I get to work with amazing students who challenge me and inspire me on a daily basis. On the side, I have two other miniature careers, one being my photography (which was just featured in a show SQUEEEEEEEE), and the other being a professional speaker.

For the last two years, I have been making the rounds at different universities talking about body image and the media, eating disorders, and sexuality. I love this part of my life. I love going out and talking to college students and we always have a great time. I think in an ideal world I would be able to do this full time someday.  In a side note, if you would be interested in bringing me to your campus you can email me at roxiepatton@ymail.com. I can give you some pricing information and other info about the programs I offer.

So that has been the bulk of my life for the last few years.

And as a final response to all of you True Life fans. Patrick and I are still friends and he is currently becoming a ninja. Okay, maybe not a ninja, but he is studying Kung Fu in an intensive program. So we are both doing awesome sauce and going where we want in life. And I am grateful to have someone like him around.